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BOOK THIRTEENTH,

IMAGINATION AND TASTE HOW
IMPAIRED AND RESTORED.—
(CONCLUDED.)

FROM Nature doth emotion come, and moods
Of calmness equally are Nature's gift:
This is her glory; these two attributes
Are sister horns that constitute her strength.
Hence Genius, born to thrive by interchange 5
Of peace and excitation, finds in her
His best and purest friend; from her receives
That energy by which he seeks the truth,
From her that happy stillness of the mind
Which fits him to receive it when unsought.

IO

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Such benefit the humblest intellects Partake of, each in their degree; 'tis mine To speak, what I myself have known and felt; Smooth task! for words find easy way, inspired By gratitude, and confidence in truth. Long time in search of knowledge did I range The field of human life, in heart and mind Benighted; but, the dawn beginning now To re-appear, 'twas proved that not in vain I had been taught to reverence a Power That is the visible quality and shape And image of right reason; that matures

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Her processes by steadfast laws; gives birth
To no impatient or fallacious hopes,
No heat of passion or excessive zeal,
No vain conceits; provokes to no quick turns
Of self-applauding intellect; but trains
To meekness, and exalts by humble faith;
Holds up before the mind intoxicate
With present objects, and the busy dance
Of things that pass away, a temperate show
Of objects that endure; and by this course
Disposes her, when over-fondly set
On throwing off incumbrances, to seek
In man, and in the frame of social life,
Whate'er there is desirable and good
Of kindred permanence, unchanged in form
And function, or, through strict vicissitude
Of life and death, revolving. Above all
re-established
now those watchful
thoughts

Were

Which, seeing little worthy or sublime
In what the Historian's pen so much delights
To blazon-power and energy detached
From moral purpose-early tutored me
To look with feelings of fraternal love
Upon the unassuming things that hold
A silent station in this beauteous world.

Thus moderated, thus composed, I found
Once more in Man an object of delight,
Of pure imagination, and of love;
And, as the horizon of my mind enlarged,
Again I took the intellectual eye

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For my
instructor, studious more to see
Great truths, than touch and handle little ones.
Knowledge was given accordingly; my trust 55
Became more firm in feelings that had stood
The test of such a trial; clearer far

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My sense of excellence-of right and wrong:
The promise of the present time retired
Into its true proportion; sanguine schemes, 60
Ambitious projects, pleased me less; I sought
For present good in life's familiar face,

And built thereon my hopes of good to come.

With settling judgments now of what would last

And what would disappear; prepared to find 65
Presumption, folly, madness, in the men
Who thrust themselves upon the passive world
As Rulers of the world; to see in these,
Even when the public welfare is their aim,
Plans without thought, or built on theories 70
Vague and unsound; and having brought the
books

Of modern statists to their proper test,
Life, human life, with all its sacred claims
Of sex and age, and heaven-descended rights,
Mortal, or those beyond the reach of death; 75
And having thus discerned how dire a thing
Is worshipped in that idol proudly named
"The Wealth of Nations," where alone that
wealth

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Is lodged, and how increased; and having gained
A more judicious knowledge of the worth
And dignity of individual man,

No composition of the brain, but man

Of whom we read, the man whom we behold
With our own eyes-I could not but inquire-
Not with less interest than heretofore,
But greater, though in spirit more subdued-

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Why is this glorious creature to be found
One only in ten thousand? What one is,
Why may not millions be? What bars are

thrown

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By Nature in the way of such a hope?
Our animal appetites and daily wants,
Are these obstructions insurmountable?
If not, then others vanish into air.
"Inspect the basis of the social pile:
Inquire," said I, “How much of mental power
And genuine virtue they possess who live
By bodily toil, labour exceeding far
Their due proportion, under all the weight
Of that injustice which upon ourselves

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Ourselves entail." Such estimate to frame 100 I chiefly looked (what need to look beyond?) Among the natural abodes of men,

Fields with their rural works; recalled to mind

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My earliest notices; with these compared
The observations made in later youth,
And to that day continued.-For, the time
Had never been when throes of mighty Nations
And the world's tumult unto me could yield,
How far soe'er transported and possessed,
Full measure of content; but still I craved 110
An intermingling of distinct regards
And truths of individual sympathy
Nearer ourselves. Such often might be gleaned
From the great City, else it must have proved
To me a heart-depressing wilderness;
But much was wanting: therefore did I turn
To you, ye pathways, and ye lonely roads;
Sought you enriched with everything I prized,
With human kindnesses and simple joys.

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Oh! next to one dear state of bliss, vouchsafed

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Alas! to few in this untoward world,
The bliss of walking daily in life's prime
Through field or forest with the maid we love,

While yet our hearts are young, while yet we breathe

Nothing but happiness, in some lone nook 125
Deep vale, or any where, the home of both,
From which it would be misery to stir:
Oh! next to such enjoyment of our youth,
In my esteem, next to such dear delight,
Was that of wandering on from day to day 130
Where I could meditate in peace, and cull
Knowledge that step by step might lead me on
To wisdom; or, as lightsome as a bird
Wafted upon the wind from distant lands,
Sing notes of greeting to strange fields or

groves,

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Which lacked not voice to welcome me in turn: And, when that pleasant toil had ceased to please,

Converse with men, where if we meet a face We almost meet a friend, on naked heaths 139 With long long ways before, by cottage bench, Or well-spring where the weary traveller rests.

Who doth not love to follow with his eye
The windings of a public way? the sight,
Familiar object as it is, hath wrought
On my imagination since the morn
Of childhood, when a disappearing line,
One daily present to my eyes, that crossed
The naked summit of a far-off hill
Beyond the limits that my feet had trod,
Was like an invitation into space
Boundless, or guide into eternity.

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Yes, something of the grandeur which invests
The mariner who sails the roaring sea
Through storm and darkness, early in my mind
Surrounded, too, the wanderers of the earth; 155
Grandeur as much, and loveliness far more.

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